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Diane Washa

"I paint landscapes because I am strongly attracted to the physical beauty of the world that surrounds me. My passion for landscapes started as a teenager when my parents, sister and I piled into our family station wagon and headed west on our annual summer vacations to the Rocky Mountains. Half way between our home and destination -- half awake, half day dreaming -- I gazed through my window in the back seat fantasizing about living at the turn of the 20th century in a prairie-style homestead, nestled on top of a foothill not far from the mountain range. I was a young bride standing in a field with tall strands of wheat gently tossing and rolling around my body, longingly looking off to the horizon for my man to come home. For ten to twelve hours every day, this fantasy repeated itself as we drove across Americathrough Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota,North Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado andMontana. I never tired of seeing how the light reflected off the land, especially at sunrise and sunset, and I never gave up looking for my man.

To this day, most of my ideas for paintings are inspired by the things I see while I’m driving somewhere around my home state, Wisconsin. I always have my camera by my side and have learned to stop my car to take a photograph and/or if I have the time and my supplies, do a painting on the spot.  It takes me much longer to get from point A to point B these days, yes even to the grocery store, but the journeys now are so much more fun and interesting. What I like most about plein air painting is that it forces you to live in the moment, which most of us find difficult to do, especially me. Once I spot something to paint, I get out of my car, find the best vantage point, set up my easel,  turn my car stereo on and paint away until I’ve had enough or can’t stand the temperatures and/or mosquitoes anymore.

My current body of work titled ‘Wish I had a River’, represents a year’s worth of painting near Wisconsin rivers like the Rock, Bark, Wisconsin, Sugar, Fox, Mississippi, Little Wolf and the Black Earth watershed. I didn’t realize how prevalent rivers were in my work until I gathered all my paintings in my studio to look at them as a collection. It was then I discovered the central theme. Rivers are the metaphor for that ‘longing in my heart for something yet to come’ … that feeling of hopefulness -- the ‘gentle anticipation of good things to come’; the same kind of feelings I had sitting in the backseat of our station wagon nearly 40 years ago."

-Diane Washa


Current Works


6858 Paoli Road • Paoli, Wisconsin 53508 • 608-845-6600 • Located just southwest of Madison